Covéa on the importance of research and insight in building trust
Authored by Covéa Insurance Director of Customer Experience Vicki Heslop
When I joined the insurance industry 25 years ago it was a very different world. Aggregator sites were still a few years away, meerkats were still exotic animals, and getting the best deal on your car insurance likely meant spending a morning on the phone or going to your local high street broker.
The revolution that’s happened in sectors like banking and retail in that time and the difference in customer experience, both in person and online, is huge.
Insurance is a very traditional industry and up until recently products and services offered were very much driven by the insurers and what they needed from the offering - the underwriters, the pricing teams and the risk managers etc. Customer choice was historically limited but in the last few years, that has changed - the industry is adapting and offering products built, designed and modified to ensure they meet customer need. But, as an insurer, we must continue to plan for the future which is why data and research are critical elements to ensure that we know more, understand customers frustrations, challenge our existing practices and provide a more dynamic and responsive customer experience.
A few years ago we created a central team around customer experience with specific roles to co-ordinate and oversee our customer research and insight. We wanted to demonstrate to our stakeholders the power and benefit of research and insight, provide a central function to oversee and co-ordinate our approach and bring in skills and expertise which allowed data to come to life and drive meaningful outcomes.
Over the last few years, we have created customer panels, virtual focus groups and now use a mix of surveying tools to identify customer needs at all points in our journey. Our most recent piece of research into vulnerability in customers has been really eye opening and has led us to introduce a range of additional support options; from training for our people to changing wording in our communications and policies.
It is a no brainer that as an industry, we should be designing and building products and services around customers and not adapting something pre-existing to provide a ‘best fit’. We are seeing significant improvements in outcomes as a result of our focus on research and data and this is reflected in a host of incremental improvements across our customer experience journeys. Longer term I am confident that this type of focus, bringing the customer into our businesses and enacting consumer led change will help improve trust in our industry which is long overdue.
Covéa Insurance is the UK underwriting business of the leading French mutual insurance Group Covéa and offers competitively-priced household and motor insurance, along with a range of commercial insurance products designed to meet the needs of most businesses, through a nationwide network of intermediaries.
Regional distribution teams based in 9 regional offices offer brokers and insurance intermediaries direct access to senior underwriters. Covéa Insurance handles the insurance needs of over 1 million policyholders.